Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “You brought me cake and drugs? If you included Casablanca, I’d have to marry you.”
The supernaturals are out and about but for Beatrice Alexander, being a "freak" isn’t cool. Abandoned by her mother because of her talents, Bea was raised by her grandmother. When her brother’s acidic comments finally hit home, Bea’s out of control powers manifest and almost kill him. Bea wakes up in the hospital and meets Dr. Black. Dr. Black assures her she is not alone and convinces her to join his top secret team of people who, like her, are gifted. The F.R.E.A.K. Squad-Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals-is a top secret branch of the FBI who hunt the supernatural monsters of society. Bea agrees to give it a shot and soon finds herself in a sequestered in Kansas, and making the best of her induction into the F.R.E.A.K. squad. Bea’s first case involves unidentified remains that appear to have been "eaten" by wild animals. Further investigation revels zombies are being used as murder weapons. Armed with her machete, plenty of snark, and two gorgeous men, Bea takes on a mastermind who’s terrifying secret makes her wonder who the real monsters are.
Jennifer Harlow’s debut, Mind Over Monsters, is a hilariously ghoulish urban fantasy; ripe with mystery, dramatics, and a cast of eccentric characters that will have you laughing and snorting at their antics. A clever mix of humor and seriousness, you get an intimate front row seat as Beatrice Alexander tries very hard to deal with her new job, powers, and team mates. Our heroine Bea is an interesting mixture of bravado and and self deprecation. While she fears her gifts and is not comfortable with all aspects of her job, she is more then willing to rise to the line to protect those in need. Her inner monologue is filled with delish snark as she laments over her weight, her love life, and the crazy people she works with.
Two possible love interests keeps our girl on her toes. Will is a very sexy detective turned werewolf whose wife was killed when they were attacked by werewolves. He blames himself for her death and has decided that strict control is the only way for him to keep everyone safe. His control seems to be slipping when it comes to Bea as he tries to protect her at every angle.
"Listen, I’m sorry I didn’t wait for you. I just wanted to…"
"Can we have this conversation later? I clicked on my flashlight, pointing it right into his eyes. "I have to follow the bloodsucking vampire into the dark, creepy cemetery."
Oliver is the team’s resident Lothario. Gorgeous, seductive and full of himself. He has made it his mission to seduce Bea since she didn’t fall at his feet in lust when they first met.
"You’re cute, but…"
"Cute?" he spits. "For centuries woman have wanted me, desired me. Royalty requested me by name, and you think I’m cute?"
"I…I’m sorry! You’re just not my type."
"Not your type?"
While the romance is very low key, it’s fun to watch the Bea wrangle with Will and Oliver. Each man has hidden depths and something to offer Bea. I am hard pressed to who shall be my new book boyfriend.
The rest of the gang adds to the entertainment with their larger then life personalities and lack of boundaries. Nancy Lake, the youngest on the team, is a teenager who can teleport through any solid surface and is likened to a "two year old on crack." Irie Dempsey is stunning pyro-kinetic who’s friendly personality is off set by the admonishment, "Don’t piss me off." From the medium to the empathic-each one has their own story to tell and I look forward to getting to know each of them personally.
Smooth writing and fast pacing will have you racing to the end to see how Bea handles herself on her first mission with the FREAK squad. Mind Over Monsters is a wonderful addition to any Urban Fantasy bookshelf and I look forward to seeing what Ms. Harlow has in store for Bea and us next.